UPDATE 2-Apple pacts in Canada may have raised prices - court filing

Fri Dec 12, 2014 6:30pm EST
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(Adds context and analyst comment)

By Randall Palmer and Alastair Sharp

OTTAWA/TORONTO Dec 12 (Reuters) - Canadian consumers may have ended up paying higher prices for cellphones and wireless services because of contracts between Apple Inc's Canadian unit and domestic carriers, the Canadian Competition Bureau said in a court filing this week.

The iPhone has given Apple extraordinary bargaining power with mobile carriers around the world, and the Canadian watchdog wants to know if it used that leverage to force domestic operators to sell rival devices at a higher price than they otherwise would have.

The Competition Bureau is seeking details on volume commitment, minimum order quantities, and any special treatment that Apple may have sought from the carriers, the filing showed.

"Of course it is natural for them to want to push in that regard, and let's see if they pushed too hard," said Colin Gillis, a technology analyst at BGC Partners in New York.

The affidavit filed on Tuesday by Vincent Millette, who is heading the Competition Bureau's investigation, and obtained by Reuters on Friday listed several ways the agreements with the phone companies may have prevented or lessened competition.

It formed part of the agency's filings with the Federal Court on Tuesday seeking documents from Apple as part of an investigation into possible anti-competitive behavior by the company. The bureau said on Thursday it had not reached a conclusion of wrongdoing at this time.

Millette affirmed that the Apple Canada contracts may have:   Continued...